Smith & Nephew denies merger or takeover talks

City A.M. Reporter
ARTIFICIAL knee and hip maker Smith & Nephew has denied that it is in any talks on a merger or takeover, after a week of speculation over approaches caused its share price to spike.

The company made the announcement after a Daily Telegraph report yesterday said it was weighing a merger deal with its privately-owned US rival Biomet.

The report followed an earlier statement from Smith & Nephew that confirmed it rejected a £7bn bid from Johnson & Johnson last month.

The UK company, which also has woundcare and endoscopy units, has been tipped as a target for some time, although industry analysts say a takeover by a large rival like Biomet or J&J could run into antitrust issues.

Smith & Nephew shares, which hit a record high of 739p on Monday after the report of the J&J bid, initially jumped as much as 4.6 per cent this morning on the Biomet merger report.

The stock reversed the gains to stand 1.0 per cent lower this afternoon after the company’s statement.

"Smith & Nephew has a long-standing policy of not commenting on press speculation, unless there is a regulatory obligation to do so," the company said in a short release.

"However, exceptionally, Smith & Nephew wishes to clarify that it is not engaged in any discussions which could lead to a merger or a takeover involving the company."

A spokesman said the statement had been issued voluntarily to clear the air and allow management to focus on running the company.